We just got the notification that class is cancelled until 11am tomorrow due to weather. This time it’s because of the cold. This morning it was the cold. Yesterday was snow. The first two days of classes were snow and frigid cold. Having grown up in Central New York and lived in Potsdam, copious snow and brutal cold don’t bother me much, but I can understand how Ohioans are not at all prepared for this. Heck, we’re on Kentucky’s border – officially The South.
For instance, yesterday morning a semi truck – yes, one with 18 wheels – was stuck on a slick patch right in front of my house, spinning his tires only feet from my car. It had been snowing for hours. Not a single plow came through, because it doesn’t snow enough to warrant having a whole fleet. And nobody around here is prepared for below zero windchills. Pea coats and scarves are usually plenty.
So naturally I’m always That Person who’s telling horror stories about the cold I suffered in Potsdam and the snow I grew up with in Mills. Yes, I know what -35 plus windchill feels like (it’s really, really painful). I’m sure they’ve all heard me say that my high school didn’t close until more than 18″ of snow had fallen. If it was 8″-18″ they just called a 90 minute delay so they could get the plows out. Under 12″ was business as usual more often than not. You don’t see grass from Halloween to Easter. It snows on Mother’s Day. Lake effect is a cruel mistress. I don’t know how many of my friends believe me and how many think I’m super exaggerating. Let me assure you: I don’t need to exaggerate 3 feet of snow between noon and 4pm on Christmas Day 2000, then another 2 feet on New Years Day.
So yes, I know we got a lot of snow. And sure, it’s a lot by pretty much the whole country’s standards, but I didn’t think it was in a league of its own. It was just a lot. Then on the drive to school today, I heard on the news that Cincinnati is already having one of the snowiest winters on record – the sixth snowiest, with 28″ already – and if we get just 6 more inches by March, it’ll be record breaking.
And I thought, alright, I know I’m used to it, and I know I’m still real close to the south, but… that’s not a lot of snow. In Utica that’s “lake effect starting Tuesday evening and tapering Wednesday morning, so get up early to shovel out your car.” So either it really isn’t a lot, and they’re even less used to it than I thought, or Utica gets waaay more than I am approximating and is in an entirely different category.
So I looked it up. And even I was floored. Cincinnati gets 22″ on average. Utica… gets 108“. 108″. That’s a lot. That’s nine feet. That’s the fourth snowiest in the country. Behind Syracuse (down the street from us), Syracuse’s largest suburb, and Anchorage. THAT’S MORE THAN BUFFALO WITH THEIR FAMOUS 8′ LAKE EFFECT STORMS.
So now I feel completely justified in telling my war stories about driving in white outs and shoveling for hours. I kind of like being That Person. I do, however, always defer to my Canadian brethren. Because as battle-hardened as I may be, I know a champion when I meet one. Toques off to you.
(Also, I’m not unique: we take our snowfall very seriously.)
(Also, a special message for Buffalo: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.)